Opeth - Rock Cafe, Tallinn, Estonia, 23.02.2009
Opeth - Rock Cafe, Tallinn, Estonia, 23.02.2009 by Ivor (29)
When the big day comes, you understand that the wait was much sweeter then the thing itself. That's what "they" usually say. Well, I think it's a load of crap. I had waited for Opeth for half a year now and when the first dissonant nonharmonics turned into powerful consonance of the "Heir Apparent" I knew exactly where I was supposed to be. To my surprise, for once I was exactly there!
I enjoy Opeth enormously because of their complexity, dark power and emotional charge they always manage to convey through these majestic air pressure waves that reach to my utterly insignificant ears. Opeth are right on the border of my musical spectrum, no doubt for many others as well. Those who have found the courage to leave behind their still life, lift the drapery and delve into the damnation called progressive death metal, will no doubt find this experience a watershed in their life. To melodic music audiophile, such as myself, the biggest hurdle to jump over or climb under is probably the growling. However, as you conquer the sound waves you'll begin to understand how the different variations of the instrument called the vocals enhance the whole experience. In fact, I think the growling is the most important and the most genius of instruments in use here, or is it just an instrument that is used ingeniously? Either way, it is clear that archangel Mikael has mastered both ends of the vocal spectrum which enhances the music with variety and complexity Opeth fans yearn for.
As I was standing in Tallinn's Rock Café and thinking something along those lines, one of my favourite albums represented by a magnificent "Ghost of Perdition" was lifting off. It has been already 4 years since "Ghost Reveries" came out. I hope Opeth are not going to let us wait for another album for 3 years because I feel my future-me time-telepathying back to present-me that what I've seen till now ain't nothing yet. There's also a little confession I feel I must make - I haven't had the chance to listen to their latest album "Watershed." I only got to play it through once before the gig but anyone who has ever listened to this kind of music knows that your first opinion is probably utterly and completely wrong.
Progressive metal is the well-nurtured and expensive wine of metal genres. You need to take the time to let the bottle get some air, savour the flavour, jiggle it through your teeth, around your tongue and finally let the after-taste encompass you with an experience worthy of ancient heroes. Well, as the night was progressing, I was happy to be able to enjoy some more sips of wines that I had already "savoured" - "Godhead's Lament" from "Still Life" and "The Leper Affinity" from the incredible "Blackwater Park." In fact, now that I look at the set-list, the only album that was not visited was their first one, "Orchid." But instead "Watershed" was brought on stage three times with second time being the "Hessian Peel."
During that song I remembered a feeling I had while listening to Dream Theater's latest album "Systematic Chaos," specifically "Repentance" (that features Mikael Åkerfeldt btw) when I thought it to be quite like Opeth. This time the emotion was reversed because "Hessian Peel" is very close to "Repentance" in melody and feeling-wise. In the beginning at least. It's nice to get this familiar feeling of recognition, like coming home after a long departure. I guess it is the result of Opeth and Dream Theater touring together and hanging around. It's the result of an exchange of pure creative energy that leaves something behind that needs to get out. I'm happy that the relationship was productive and I can only envy those who saw Dream Theater and Opeth on tour(s) together.
They even managed to fit the (almost) acoustic album of theirs into the set-list, and I'm very grateful for that. We got "Closure" from "Damnation." The thing with this one that has been bothering me for years is the sudden, almost violent ending. During the live performance they of course ended it properly. Is it deliberate lack of "closure" in a song called "Closure" or was that really a big cock-up with sound mix? I hope some day I would get the chance to drink beer with those guys and ask the question face to face. In this song's case, the audience was positively surprised with a little jam in the middle of the song that looped back to the original song passing around the "what the hell?" and "whoa!" It almost makes you want more of these interesting drift-offs.
Anyhow, the gig had moved on and now the encore was dying down to hear what Mikael had to say. He declared sarcastically that the shouting and screaming didn't matter as the set-list said clearly that they had one more song for us in store. Well, cool! But I didn't expect the ending they gave us. "Deliverance" was simply wild! Even those couple of people around me who acted rather civilized, started head-banging, including me. It was joy taking musical form. The 13 minutes were too short. Well, the almost-two-hour-show was too short. I'm still dubious of them using some dark arts to time warp me through the gig but unfortunately all good things must come to an end. Opeth are probably my favourite artist that have visited Estonia and I can only hope they will not be my last favourites.
I'm also happy to see that one of my friends has began to understand and like the kind of language Opeth use. Check out liriel's a bit more visual and even more analytical view of the same event at her blog.
Until the next time, You Scandinavian gods of progression! My best regards and a phrase almost every Estonian knows in Swedish - "lycka till!"
- Heir Apparent (from 2008 "Watershed")
- Ghost of Perdition (from 2005 "Ghost Reveries")
- Godhead's Lament (from 1999 "Still Life")
- The Leper Affinity (from 2001 "Blackwater Park")
- Credence (from 1998 "My Arms, Your Hearse")
- Hessian Peel (from 2008 "Watershed")
- Closure (from 2003 "Damnation")
- The Night And The Silent Water (from 1996 "Morningrise")
- The Lotus Eater (from 2008 "Watershed")
- Deliverance (from 2002 "Deliverance")
PS. More photos in the gallery.
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